Install WSL2 for Windows 10 Home Edition: not as easy as they say, but not impossible either, and definitely worth it, plus tips for Windows 11

2023 Intro – Windows 11 Home Edition

I just got my HP Aero with Windows 11. One of the very first things I did is to get WSL going, that’s how important it is to me. I did not do a simple wsl –install, at least not initially. Maybe it would have worked, maybe not. Instead I launched a PowerShell window as administrator and ran the two dism commands as shown below. Then this command did nothing – it’s not recognized:

wsl --set-default-version 2

Then I just went for it and tried to install Debian:

wsl --install --distribution Debian

It seemed to go through, but I remember that it always does (the fake). But all of a sudden I was being asked to set up an account. A reboot, and then a there was a Debian window. And the wsl command works. So no kernel patching needed any longer (I believe).

The section below is my original post based on my experience installing wsl on Windows 10 home edition.


I installed WSL2 on my work laptop a couple weeks ago. It didn’t go terribly smoothly but now that I have it, I love it. I had been using a Cygwin environment, but I fear that is looking a little long in the tooth. WSL2 is fast to start up. But the main contrast is that while Cygwin is an emulator, WSL2 is a true hypervisor so you get a full-fledged linux VM, right on your PC. Of course this was always possible with products like VirtualBox or whatnot, but Microsoft has sort of built in this capability with newer versions of Windows 10, so there’s no mussing with external software any longer.

But at work I have Windows 10 Professional, of course. What about at home where I have Windows 10 Home Edition like most of us? My understanding is that you could not run a hypervisor with Windows 10 Home Edition. And I was probably right, until recently. But now you can. I know because I just managed it tonight.

None of the tutorials out there were exactly right, but they all contained pieces of the truth. So my contribution is to add weight to the correct steps you’ll need to take. Unfortunately I only get to do it once so my notes aren’t the best. Still, I may be able to spare you some pitfalls.

Why you should want WSL2

If you love linux command-line, then I would say this is a must-have.

What doesn’t work

You’ll see suggestions to fire up powershell and simply run

wsl –install

Chances are about 95% that that won’t work if you are reading this article – would that it would be so simple.

Instead, do this

Open a powershell window as administrator. To do that type powershell in the start menu, and look around at all the options. Pick out the one that mentions Run as administrator.

Running Powershell as Administrator

Then enter this command into the PS window.

dism.exe /online /enable-feature /featurename:Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux /all /norestart

Then this.

dism.exe /online /enable-feature /featurename:VirtualMachinePlatform /all /norestart

Then this.

wsl --set-default-version 2

You need to update your kernel. Download this WSL2 kernel update file and install it:

A reboot at this point is probably a good idea.

Now you need to get yourself a linux distro to install.

There are certain wsl commands you can issue which will helpfully give you the URL to the Debian distro: You put the URL into the browser and it redirects you to the MS Store. But I forget what that is. perhaps wsl -d Debian. But I suppose you can simply go to the MS Store directly and search for Debian and install it.

Nameserver issues when using vpn

Actually when I switched from wsl v 1 to wsl v 2, name resolution really didn’t work at all. The proximate cause is that the /etc/resolv.conf file contained the IP of the host system. But the host system doesn’t have a dns server… So after considering other options, I think the best is to embrace this guy’s script. It is supposed to dynamically figure out the best nameservers, which is pretty cool:

He writes:

(Optionally) save it to your startup folder (%APPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup), so it is automatically launched when you log in.

So i guess that’s the current way to run a custom program upon startup. That could be useful.

Enhance your experience with Windows Terminal

One good suggestion out of Windows Central is to use Windows Terminal. At least it looks good. I haven’t had time to try it myself. I normally just fire up a CMD window and type wsl. My Debian starts immediately and I have a satisfactory command-line environment. But working with multiple windows will be nice so I have to check it out.

Just look for Windows Terminal in the MS Store.

Windows Central suggestions

A web site called Windows Central has a pretty good stepwise guide. But their advertising is so obnoxious, I’m afraid to accidentally touch any part of the page for fear of getting sent to one of their many advertisers. Even still it probably happened about five times. So I won’t make the link to them too prominent. And, anyway, their guide is a little oversimplified.

My equipment

I have a four-year old HP Pavilion laptop running Windows 10 2021 H2 if I remember correctly. It has solid state drives so it’s not too slow, and it boots pretty quickly.

BIOS – basically impossible to get into these days

I’m sure people who do this for a living will disagree, but for ordinary people it’s basically impossible to disrupt the boot process to modify the BIOS settings. And you may need to do that. In fact that was the hardest thing of all for me. Pressing F10 or delete or Escape or F2 – and does that mean hold the FN key down first?? No one explains that, and I don’t have patience to watch a YouTube video. But after trying a bunch of combinations and booting a bunch of times, and never getting into the BIOS settings, I was really glad to learn Windows 10 offers an alternate way! And it works…

Access BIOS settings from Windows 10

Very briefly, the steps are:

Windows Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Restart Now > Advanced Startup -> Restart Now > Reboot > select Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > UEFI Firmware Settings > (BIOS menu) enable virtualization > Save.

To see the details, go to this HP article: How to Enter BIOS Setup on Windows PCs | HP® Tech Takes

Why you may need to alter the BIOS settings

Well, on my laptop my installation of Debian kept failing with this error. Error: 0x80370102 The virtual machine could not be started because a required feature is not installed. I read on a Microsoft site that could be because the ability to run virtual servers was not enabled in the BIOS. And, yes, that turned out to be absolutely true. It was disabled. So I enabled it and bam, the Debian install started asking me for a username and password, and I was running a Debian VM!

To be fleshed out as my time permits…

But, I love my Debian linux. It’s just like Raspberry Pi OS Lite. I just install packages as I need them: python, pip, curl, bind9-dnsutils, ssh, etc.

Operating inbound TCP services

After the initial thrill wears off, you realize you may need practical things that you have on your Raspberry Pi such as an ssh server or a web server. I believe this will be possible. Still working on it. After installing ssh you can fire it up:

$ sudo service ssh start

This post describes some of those service commands which you have under a WSL linux install: [3 Fixes] System Has Not Been Booted With Systemd as Init System (

If you ignore that article you may see this error! System has not been booted with systemd as init system (PID 1). Can’t operate.

Back to your ssh server. Now you can already connect to it from the Windows system itself, e.g., from a CMD window:

C:\Users\me> ssh user@localhost

user is the Debian user you set during initial setup. So, anyway, that works and that’s cool. But you’re still locked out from the outside.

This helpful Microsoft article discusses networking for WSL2. Apparently it is still evolving and so it’s a bit primitive right now: Accessing network applications with WSL | Microsoft Docs

From a CMD Window launched as administrator:

netsh interface portproxy add v4tov4 listenport=22 listenaddress= connectport=22 connectaddress=

But this does not work in my case. Firewall thing, I’m sure. Yes! for me, where I also run Mcafee, I needed to go to their firewall settings > Ports and system services. Then I had to add a service for TCP port 22 – the ssh default port. Then it began to work and my RPi could ssh and sftp to my Debian VM! sftp kind of hanged a bit. Have to see how bad that is.

How the filesystems are mapped

Where are your nice, tidy linux directories to be found on your ugly File Explorer? You should have a Linux > Debian (or whatever your installed distribution is) section added to the bottom of your File Explorer.

Debian filesystem as it appears in File Explorer

But really, where is that? For me, it is:


And turning things around, how do you navigate to the C drive from your linux command line? Just

cd /mnt/c

Most of the interesting files in my case are in /mnt/c/user/USERNAME

Debian linux loses time

Older versions of WSL may have their system clock drift severely compared to the underlying system’s hardware clock. sudo hwclock -s may restore things. Also see

References and related

That obnoxious Windows Central article I mentioned above with a lot of the WSL2 installation information. It’s a veritable minefield of links to irrelevant stuff, so you’ve been warned: How to install Linux WSL2 on Windows 10 and Windows 11 | Windows Central

WSL2 kernel update.

Seeing Error: 0x80370102? Try Troubleshooting Windows Subsystem for Linux | Microsoft Docs A whole host of other WSL2 errors are addressed in this article as well.

This article purports to be for servers, but I think it’s applicable to PCs as well. It gets pretty technical. System requirements for Hyper-V on Windows Server | Microsoft Docs

About starting system services such as the ssh daemon: [3 Fixes] System Has Not Been Booted With Systemd as Init System (

A good overview of WSL2 networking: Accessing network applications with WSL | Microsoft Docs

How to Enter BIOS Setup on Windows PCs | HP® Tech Takes

With WSL 2 dns name resolution can often be mucked up. This guy has a nice fix:

Info about a clock drift problem:


SD Card reader not working after Windows 10 upgrade

I was more than a little alarmed after an upgrade of my Dell Inspiron with built-in SD card reader failed to work properly after I upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 10. After the upgrade I inserted an SD card into the reader and nothing happened in File Explorer! this led to some tense moments.

The details
Here’s file Explorer after inserting the SD card:

File Explorer
File Explorer

The DVD drive is nowhere to be found and the same for SD card.

But if I right-click on This PC and select manage it looks like this:

Disk Management

So that would make it seem that Disk 1 is removable media mapped to the E: drive and my DVD player is mapped to the D: drive. Interesting. So let’s try this in File Explorer (known as Windows Explorer in previous version of Windows). Type


in the field where it says Quick access. Sure enough it magically appears:

Now with E: Drive mapped
Now with E: Drive mapped

And I can do the normal File Explorer operations with it.

I think there is a more permanent fix but for me I have no problem typing e: the few times I need to read an SD card.

Oh, and the DVD drive? It was there all along. I see it when I highlight This PC:

Now with DVD drive
Now with DVD drive

If you don’t see your SD card when running Windows 10 don’t panic. It may be there alright. Type E: in the Quick Access field. Or maybe D: or F: – depends on your PC’s configuration, which I’ve shown how to list above. I believe a more permanent fix involves re-installing or repairing a driver, but I haven’t had time to look into it. My approach will get you working quickly in a pinch, like, say, when you have to get the photos off your camera’s SD card because you need them right now.

References and related articles
This Microsoft Technet discussion was helpful to me. It was slow to load however.

Admin Consumer Tech

Useful Links – Technical Resources

From time-to-time I come across sites that really help out, and ones that true, might be found quickly in a Google search, but some offer capabilities you may not have even realized existed.

The links
So without further ado, here they are. They need some organizing yet!

– Geographic location finder for any IP address. There are zillions of them out there. Some are overly aggressive with advertizing so be wary. Here’s a really good one that shows your IP and perceived location without the ads:

although I normally use .

Formula plotter (math) – very nice

Naming Convention

ISO 2-letter country codes

Everyone is pretty familiar with these two-letter codes. Theer is also a 3-letter convention as well. But what is much less well known is the UN way to designate almost every single location on the planet with a 3-letter code:

UNECE 3-letter place/city/town codes

Click on a country and it will show you all the 3-letter codes.

This is not the same as the IATA airport codes! It is more extensive.

Check your speed by downloading one of the large files from such as .

Reputation links
– Reputation information for any mail server. Just plug in the IP. Will also show what blacklists the server is on and the reputation of others servers on that segment. I think it’s run by Cisco.
– Reputation of any URL, sponsored by Bluecoat, makers of the free edition K9 Webfilter.

Webmaster links will show what your site looked like in the past, sometimes even years in the past.
Now retired: –, to see how unpopular your web site is. Retired by Amazon May 2022! Not sure if there is an equivalent…
– Say you see a photo on a web site and you want to know if it was used elsewhere, or if the site cropped it

– Open source information and knowledgeable discussion.

-Is this web site(s) up?


-0 Patch (I learned of this 12/2023) may be an option to get continued securtity coverage when your Windows 10 support runs out in October 2025.
-This is a very good article discussing the Windows 10 to Windows 11 upgrade options for those whose hardware doesn’t support Windows 11:

-Good discussion of ongoing security matters, though too heavily weighted on Social networking. Articles daily with interesting reader comments.
– Web site malware checker. I’ve used it once. I guess it’s OK, but probably not nearly as thorough as commercial products. I guess it doesn’t look for vulnerabilities, just malware., a service for analyzing and detecting web-based malware

– most under-appreciated blog by an IT professional, networking concentration. Hey, I can toot my own horn!
– Screen-sharing application
– Ookla’s Down Detector gives the status of hundreds of major web sites.

Home User
– Best broadband speed test. It’s simple, but doesn’t shower you with aggressive ads.

– speedtest also looks good.

Another better alternative to (again no aggressive ads) is

I think may be the best, however.

Prevent your neighbor’s WiFi SSIDs from being offered to you:

– Permanent HTTP site – will never be https: It can be hard to find a site that doesn’t run SSL these days so this can be useful, e.g., when you want to sign on to guest Wifi such as hotels offer.

Find an Android phone:


Here’s a really good introduction to REST API by Microsoft:

Computer and Linux Hobbyist
– Cheapest low-power Linux computer. At about $35 this looks really interesting for the hobbyist.

Towards a Responsible and Ethical Internet
– a search engine that doesn’t track! I just heard about this on Marketplace. Unfortunately it’s not as sophisticated as Google with type-aheads. I checked a few searches that should bring up some of my blog posts and – they did – so it must have some reach into obscure web sites

And another I’ve just learned about:


Check out how many times yuor email address and other info about you have been leaked on the Internet. It’s enlightening and also depressing:

A victim of Identity Theft?

Go to this checklist maintained by the Federal Trade Commission: